Use Among Teens

Statistically, 60% of Michiganders had a drink within the past month. Teens learn from watching others. Many may view drinking as “harmless” without awareness of its effects on a developing mind.

Why Kids Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol

Regardless of how much or how little adults drink, it is not safe for individuals under 21. Binge drinking and regular consumption of alcohol damages brain tissue and vital organs in children and teens. In addition to physical effects, it can become chemically and emotionally addicting.

Known commonly as booze, hard stuff, a cold one (beer) and other nicknames, alcohol can be easy to come by and easy to binge.

Each year, roughly 5,000 people under 21 die as a result of underage drinking (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

Young people consume over 90% of their alcohol through binge drinking (NIAAA); Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among US teens (CDC).

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is the most common and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.1,2,3 Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above.

Underage Drinking

The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey7 found that among high school students, during the past 30 days:

  • 30% drank some amount of alcohol
  • 14% binge drank
  • 6% drove after drinking alcohol
  • 17% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol

How can I tell if someone is engaged in underage drinking?

Unlike adults, some teens do not develop obvious hangovers after drinking. Still, watch out for these signs of drinking:

  • The smell of alcohol
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • Deteriorating physical hygiene and grooming
  • A high tolerance to alcohol

Have a conversation with your teens about alcohol. When talking, remain calm and keep an open mind to create an honest dialogue. Refrain from harsh judgment, but aim to promote awareness of the following:

  • Make it clear that you disapprove of underage drinking. Research suggests that children are less likely to drink alcohol when their parents openly disagree with it
  • Healthy drinking habits, such as eating with alcohol and avoiding dehydration
  • The dangers of alcohol misuse
  • Healthy coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety
  • How to know your limits with alcohol
  • The dangers of spiked drinks and impaired driving
  • Make it clear that your teen can always call you, at any time of the day, to get a safe and sober ride home

Data and statistics for this website are obtained from trusted sources like the CDC and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. For more information, please contact us.